Forrest appeal denied

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2004

U.S. Senior District Judge Brevard Hand denied an appeal on Thursday filed by attorneys for the City of Selma requesting that Hand reconsider his earlier decision, which refused the city costs and expenses in the Friends of Forrest lawsuit.

According to Bill Gamble, of Gamble, Gamble, Calame & Chittom, which is representing the city in the case, Hand’s Thursday decision requires the city to pay his firm for costs and fees incurred in the suit. It also requires the Friends of Forrest to pay its attorneys.

Gamble noted that the city has already paid his firm.

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Gamble had filed a motion in Hand’s court on Tuesday asking him to reconsider his March decision, which called Gamble’s original motion that requested the Friends of Forrest pay Selma’s legal fees moot. &uot;So the judge said, ‘No, I’m not going to award fees in this case,’&uot; Gamble said.

Gamble filed his original motion to recoup the fees shortly after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the Friends of Forrest’s suit in October 2003. The action to recoup the expenses and fees, which totaled $184,119.25, according to documentation, stemmed from a suit filed by the Friends of Forrest on May 17, 2001. The suit sought to have a monument to Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest restored to its original location on the grounds of the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum.

Gamble filed his appeal with Hand on Tuesday, the deadline for the motion.

Gamble noted that the city could appeal Hand’s decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, though he didn’t yet know if the council would.

Councilwoman Jean Martin said she thought Hand’s decision would end the legal process. &uot;I would like very much for it to be over,&uot; Martin said. &uot;I’d like to get it all settled. I really would.&uot;

Martin added that the council would have to discuss the matter with its attorneys and think about the long-term implications before making a decision.

Council President George Evans said on Wednesday that he believed a majority of the council wanted the issue to end. &uot;I’ll bring it up at the council’s (April 26) meeting,&uot; he said.

The suit stems from the council’s Feb. 26, 2001, decision to move the monument from the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum to Confederate Circle at Old Live Oak cemetery.